Ingold's Grocery a staple in Fisher

By PHILLIP KISUBIKA
Rantoul Press correspondent


FISHER — A piece of local history sits at the corner of Third and Front Streets in Fisher.


Ingold’s Grocery has been a part of the community, in some form or another, for almost a century, and it doesn’t look like it will be going away anytime soon.


The business began as Heiser Brothers Store in 1921, with Roy and Jesse Heiser as its proprietors. Roy left the business in 1924.


In 1926, Jesse’s brother-in-law, Harve Ingold, became his business partner and the store was renamed Heiser & Ingold.


When Harve Ingold and Jesse Heiser retired on Jan. 1, 1983, they sold the business to Dale and Steve Ingold, Harve’s son and grandson. The store was renamed Ingold’s Grocery.


Dale Ingold passed away in 2010. Today, Steve Ingold is a co-owner of the store, along with his wife, Belinda, and his sister and brother-in-law, Diana and Dave Wilkinson.


“We have a lot of third-generation customers and great employees,” Steve Ingold said.


Belinda Ingold said that when Steve first asked if she wanted to work at the store, she wasn’t sure.


“I worked at a big company in Champaign,” she said. “I didn’t know if I’d like it. As it turns out, it’s been great to work (in town) and be close with our family. When we wanted to go to our kids’ events, we could sneak out and have someone watch the store.”


According to the Ingolds, the main attraction to the store is its meat counter. People come from several local communities to get meat from Ingold’s. Nothing is pre-packaged, and all of the meat is cut fresh to order.


Steve credits the patronage of the store’s customers and employees like Julie Krantz, Bas Campos and Doug Brevor with keeping Ingold’s running smoothly.


Of course, things won’t always be easy in business. The opening of another store in town has put a dent in the store’s customer base.


“It’s been hard for us since then,” Steve said. “If people want to keep a grocery store in town, they’ll have to support it.”


It’s understood that many of Fisher’s residents work out of town and may satisfy their grocery needs outside of the village as well. All the same, cuts have been made to store’s inventory, salaries and worker hours to survive.


“Our meat business has been good, but we can’t survive on meat alone,” Steve said.


But through the rough patches, good times have endured. Steve Ingold said his greatest joy has been seeing kids who used to work at the store in high school return and patronize Ingold’s after they’ve grown up and started their own families.


It’s his hope that he’ll continue to be able to watch that history and tradition walk in and out of his door each day.


pkisubika@gmail.com

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